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Effective range of reproductive interference exerted by an alien dandelion, Taraxacum officinale, on a native congener

Abstract

Reproductive interference (RI), defined as the fitness cost of interspecific sexual interactions, such as interspecific pollen transfer (IPT) in plants, is ecologically important. Theoretically, RI could result in competitive exclusion, as it operates in a frequency-dependent manner. Additionally, IPT may have a greater range than resource competition, although information about the range of IPT is lacking. In the present study, we measured the range of IPT exerted by Taraxacum officinale (an alien species) on a native dandelion, T. japonicum. We used two approaches. In one, we analyzed the RI effect on a native seed set at three spatial scales. In the second, we tracked IPT from alien to native flower heads using fluorescent pigments as markers. We estimated that pollination distances were in the order of several meters. These distances exceeded the mean distance from each native plant to the nearest alien. As hypothesized, the effect of RI reached farther than neighboring individuals. These data indicate the spatial range from which alien dandelions should be removed to allow the conservation of natives.

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Acknowledgments

This work was partly supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Young Scientists (B, No. 19770023 to K.-I.T.) from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology, Japan.

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Correspondence to Koh-Ichi Takakura.

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Takakura, KI., Matsumoto, T., Nishida, T. et al. Effective range of reproductive interference exerted by an alien dandelion, Taraxacum officinale, on a native congener. J Plant Res 124, 269–276 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10265-010-0368-8

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Keywords

  • Competition
  • Fluorescent pigment
  • Interspecific pollen transfer
  • Invasive species
  • Seed set